I'd like to apologize to all of you who've been following my work and journey over the years. Some of you have come to appreciate my collective monthly readings and usually I'm updating the webstore at least every other month with new one of a kind product. Its been at least 6 months since I've done either, it's been chaotic over here to say the least. Most times I'm not specific about what things are happening in my world but I think my absence this past year deserves some explanation. The short answer is immense and honestly painful change. The longer answer is below if you choose to hear it.
I started 2022 burnt out and unsure if creating and fabricating jewelry as I had over the last 3 years was sustainable. My business plan for Blavk Jewelry has been "I make stuff and put it out in the world for people to buy," no marketing strategy, no real understanding of trends or business models just pure heart and naivety. While trying to sort out answers to how I'd continue creating in a way that could support me financially I was asked by a fellow craftsperson, Rebekah Gail Frank if I'd like to assist her teaching queer youth at the well known craftschool, Haystack. Since everything I had been doing felt as if it was failing spectacularly I decided to see if maybe I needed to pivot directions and learn to teach jewelry making. In between the time I accepted that opportunity I also applied for a few scholarships to attend artist residencies and workshops. I hoped this change of pace would provide me with some answers. In the spring I was accepted to take a course with well known contemporary jeweler Iris Eichenberg at the same craft school I'd be teaching at in September.
Over the summer I quietly dealt with some pretty stressful financial insecurity. However I committed to trying different things to make this business work which meant taking a SEO course, and attending business bootcamp that culminated in a pitch competition (which I won). I spent three weeks learning all the things I assume most folks know when they start businesses and realizing how far behind I've been. Before I knew it, it was August and time to attend the workshop. Days before I left my parked car was involved in an accident that rendered it immobile (I still don't have my car back 🙃 ). While attending the workshop I was offered a position with SNAG (Society of North American Goldsmiths) as a communications coordinator. (yayy financial security). However, I was quickly brought to my knees by not one but two racist incidents, one of which I'm honestly still recovering from and still processing during my time at Haystack.
When I returned from the workshop I was given the opportunity to become a featured artist at Tshatske Jewelry Studio! The pieces they've got are the last works I've done this year. Right on the heels of finishing up those pieces I was informed I'd made it to the second round of another business pitch competition, this time winners would receive $50k! Public speaking is not my forte and neither are talking numbers but with that much money on the line I needed to figure this out quick. So for the last two months my sole goal has been putting together a presentation that could win this business some money. I'm happy to report that I did indeed win that $50k with the help of some very supportive friends but now it's November and I'm like shit I haven't really shared anything with all of you. I've been busy; processing trauma, mourning, shifting, changing, growing and trying to find balance amongst so much newness.
For those who've stuck around, thank you for being here. I refuse to create from a place of guilt or fear or expectation because this work is energetic and I can't in good conscious pass that chaos off to you. Now that my life is started to feel a little more stable I can resume working at my bench, creating pieces for you all to spend time with. In a world of instant gratification, this will remain a space of intention.